Kenyan President Ruto rejects and withdraws controversial Finance Bill

Kenyan President William Ruto has withdrawn and rejected the controversial Finance Bill 2024, following widespread protests and violence across the country on Tuesday June 25.

Protesters stormed the National Assembly, setting a section of the parliament building on fire, and clashing with police.

The protests, led by youth, were sparked by the passing of the Finance Bill 2024, which introduced unpopular tax proposals.

Demonstrators demanded that MPs reject the bill, citing concerns over the impact of new taxes on the economy and ordinary citizens.

Despite the government’s attempts to justify the new taxes as necessary to fund spending programmes and reduce the debt burden, the protests continued to gain momentum.

Businesses were shut, transport was paralysed, and police engaged in running battles with demonstrators, using rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the crowds.

In a surprise move, President Ruto on Wednesday June 26 announced the withdrawal and rejection of the Finance Bill 2024 in response to the widespread unrest.

In a televised address, he indicated that “Listening keenly to the people of Kenya who have said loudly that they want nothing to do with this finance bill 2024, I concede. And therefore, I will not sign the 2024 finance bill, and it shall subsequently be withdrawn.”

He further indicated that”Following the passage of the bill, the country witnessed widespread expression of dissatisfaction with the bill as passed, regrettably resulting in the loss of life, destruction of property and desecration of constitutional institutions. I send condolences to the families of those who lost their loved ones in this unfortunate manner. Consequently, having reflected on the continuing conversation around the content of the finance
bill of 2024, I will decline to assent to the bill.”

“Accordingly, as I committed on Sunday, I propose an engagement with young people of our nation to listen to their issues and agree with them on their priority areas of concern. I also propose that within the next 14 days, a multi-sectoral, multistakeholder engagement be held with a view to charting the way forward on matters relating to the content of the bill as well as auxiliary issues raised in recent days on the need for austerity measures and strengthening our fight against corruption.”

Source: Citi newsroom

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